One Blog |October 12, 2010 | POS Tracking Software

What is Marketing at-Retail and Why Manage, Control and Measure It?

Mark Fullerton

What is Marketing at-Retail?

And Why Should You Manage, Control and Measure It?

From our perspective as a software provider to the Beverage Distribution Industry, we identify Marketing at-Retail, Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing, and Point-of-Purchase (POP) Promotions as virtually interchangeable terms. 

Often, alcohol beverage distributors and their retail customers simply call this kind of marketing POS.  One of OnTrak’s customers, a large urban beer distributor, even calls the airplane banners that are flown over the Cincinnati Red’s Great American Ballpark — urging game-goers to drink a cold beer — “POS”, even though the sign is 600 feet in the air.

We believe that Marketing at-Retail is one of the hottest topics in marketing today.  Marketing at-Retail materials include custom and permanent signs, displays, menus, packaging, and staging, which are all designed to target retail customers when they are at the buying-decision point — in the store or restaurant.  Whether you are a supplier or distributor, Marketing at-Retail has both the capability and the opportunity to influence every aspect of the shopping, deciding and buying process.

According to a study by “The Point-Of-Purchase Advertising International” - POPAI (pronounced “poppy”), the Global Association for Marketing at-Retail, over 70% of purchase decisions are made at the instant and place of product availability.

Let that sink in for a moment.  Over 70% of purchase decisions are not made in advance, at home, or on the way to the point of purchase.  Rather, buying decisions are made while the customer is “in the aisle”, or “at the table”.  It is true that customers often enter a retailer or restaurant with a product category (light beer or red wine) in mind.  But, it is also true that the decision to buy a particular brand or product is typically made after being presented with the alternatives via product displays, signage, or menus and pricing information.  In many categories, “price sells product,” and price information is typically transmitted by Marketing at-Retail materials.  The materials tell the customer your product is available here, and is priced attractively.  And, you can be sure, if you don’t promote your brand, your competition surely will.

According to a study released by the consultants at Deloitte, spending on Marketing at-Retail has doubled in the past five years.  Procter & Gamble, headquartered here in Cincinnati, invests over 500 million dollars a year in Marketing at-Retail initiatives. And, companies like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Nestle and a growing number of others all have their own Marketing at-Retail business units.

What is Marketing at-Retail?

But again, what is Marketing at-Retail?  Marketing at-Retail is a relatively new and some would argue relatively unknown area of marketing.  It is tasked with measuring and predicting what retail marketing initiatives are effective and how they help convert shoppers into buyers — at the place and time they make the decision to buy — at the point-of-purchase in the retail store or restaurant.  And, as studies have shown, because consumers make 70% of their purchase decisions at the point of purchase, Marketing at-Retail initiatives have perhaps the strongest influence on the consumer’s decision to buy.

As a supplier, distributor or retailer, you simply cannot ignore “The Power of Marketing-at Retail”*.  Gaining an understanding of the tactics and strategies involved will provide you with the tools to improve your sales.

Unless you don’t want to sell more and don’t want to have greater market share, stay tuned to this blog as we continue to examine the impact of Managed, Controlled and Measured Marketing at-Retail materials on which of your products the retail consumers ultimately buy.

*Book Title: ”The Power of Marketing at-Retail,” Edited by Robert Liljenwall, ©2008 - POPAI

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